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Brookhaven to receive federal funds to help pay for Sandy cleanup costs

Members of the Suffolk County Department of Public

Members of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Division of Vector Control uses specialized Amphibious equipment to remove debris from Hurricane Sandy from the marsh and wetlands in Mastic Beach on the morning of Jan. 7,2013. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Town of Brookhaven will receive a $1.8 million federal reimbursement for debris cleanup following superstorm Sandy.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrats, announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency aid package on Friday.

The town's north and south shores and Fire Island were heavily damaged by storm surges caused by Sandy in October 2012.

Town crews removed downed trees and vegetation that blocked traffic and caused potential safety hazards.

"After superstorm Sandy hit, roads throughout the town of Brookhaven were covered with debris, causing a very dangerous situation for drivers and residents," Schumer said in a news release. "This FEMA aid will help make sure that Brookhaven residents are not on the hook for these expenses."

Gillibrand added that the FEMA funds brought "much needed relief for Long Island families and businesses impacted by superstorm Sandy."

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the town dipped into reserve funds to pay for labor, equipment, materials and other costs related to storm cleanup.

The FEMA reimbursement "will be extremely helpful. The town was hit very hard," Romaine said. "It's welcome news that we're getting this money."

Federal authorities have announced a plan to restore Fire Island dunes destroyed by the storm.

The project is expected to begin later this year.

Romaine said the dunes are crucial for protecting Fire Island and the Long Island mainland from hurricanes and other major storms.

"We're hoping that they'll start [restoring] the dunes," he said. "We're very concerned about the lack of a dune system on Fire Island."

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